Rules Of Engagement 2
Rules of Engagement 2 is a massive, detailed game of strategy. In the 24th century the Federated Worlds and the Union of Democratic Planets are at war. The conflict is taking place over a huge stretch of the galaxy. While the Earthlings are fighting amongst themselves, various alien races are being discovered. Few of them are friendly.
Star travel has been made possible by the discovery, in 2095, of a hyperspace booster. This seems to have been left in the Tau Ceti solar system for man to find but the identity of the 'gatekeepers' who left it there is unknown. Rules of Engagement 2 is a computer simulation that places you in command of a Federation starship. But you are not alone; there is a rota of 29 other captains and you can choose those suited to particular missions.
The program operates in real time as far as is consistent with playability. The programmer, Thomas Carbone has avoided the flight sim habit of a long boring journey to a fast dog fight. You are often plunged straight into hot water with enemy ships closing fast. This means you need to think quickly to decide tactics and arrange your battle group.
There are three ready made campaigns; Tour of Duty, Doomsday Operation and ill Wind. The first two are 'medium' and the last is hard, although I found it easier than some bits of Tour of Duty. There is also a mission called Basree Cargo, which is very easy and lets you get accustomed to the controls. Ah yes, the controls. There is a point and click interface but, just in case you think that makes things easy, there are 26 windows. These control all aspects of your ship and those of your comrades. You will have to decide which four are essential for any one situation. There are four preconfigured selections - you can store your own - and two of the functions (Navigation and Data) have their own 'full' windows.
At the beginning of every mission you must assign ships to waypoints and captains to the ships. In some missions you will have over a dozen ships from a choice of up to 96. Choose the captains carefully. Some are hot-headed and attack enemy ships you may want captured, while others do not respond well to orders. And there are some who have a sneaking regard for the principles of the udp (commie finks, in other words). Let's have, as they say, a worked example.
- Missionl: data acquired
Doomsday Operation brings together several different strands of the game; the hyperspace booster and the various aliens that the humans meet as they use it. The first mission of the campaign is to protect the booster and find out more about the aliens who are in league with the udp. I decided a destroyer could protect the booster and used the Jose Rizal. For its captain I chose James Chappie because of his tactical skills and his willingness to carry out orders. I now needed to capture one enemy ship and destroy the other. I decided on two dreadnoughts, the Kung San and the Akio Morita. Chahn Minh, another ace captain, took the Akio Morita and I took command of the flagship.
The first panel I opened when we arrived at the waypoint was tacmap, the tactical map. It showed that two enemy ships, udp Desmona Ret and Wiktyn Hesi, were patrolling the waypoint and two others were closing: the Heavy Cruisers Nehkyew Jehk and Yaksur Jehk. Opening up comxmt and comrcv, I ordered everyone to jam enemy communications and then attack the nearest, Nehkyew Jehk. This gave me the vital time needed to go into tacdef and put up my shields and set missile defences to 'jam'. Moving to tacfir I put the ebw level up to 75% and pinpointed 'weapons'.
I then opened the compwr panel and set my own systems to jam enemy communications. Then I went into navhlm, set it to chase the Nehkyew Jehk, closed navhlm and set up the display for combat: tacfir, TACMAP, TACSEN and TACMAN.
The problem was which ship to capture? udp Desmona Ret was out as we already knew about the udp. Wiktyn Hesi looked promising as it was a cruiser and easier to take, as well as having fewer crew to overcome. But it and udp Desmona Ret were patrolling the waypoint. They could be dealt with later so I decided that all three of us would try and capture the first ship and destroy the second. Then Chappie could go and defend the booster and Chahn Minh and I would try to take out or capture both remaining enemy ships. I was worried that one might self-destruct rather than be captured -after all we knew nothing about these aliens, the Trizan Alphas.
I ordered my colleagues to capture Nehkyew Jehk and I went after Yaksur Jehk which was closing fast. I destroyed it just as I heard that the first had been captured. As Wiktyn Hesi and udp Desmona Ret were patrolling the waypoint they had to go and with them, I assumed, the threat to the booster. I ordered the others to destroy udp Desmona Ret while I attempted to capture Wiktyn Hesi. I accidentally blew up Wiktyn Hesi with a lucky missile and so ordered everyone to the waypoint. Chanh Minh peeled off to help the Jose Rizal which had sustained heavy damage in the attack on udp Desmona Ret. I followed him and destroyed the enemy ship while the Akio Morita towed Jose Rizal safely to the waypoint. We all made it. The mission was a success and gave High Command vital intelligence.
- Ducks in a barrel
The data from the captured enemy ship gave notice of a Trizan Alpha convoy passing through the Zhison system. The mission is to attack it and capture cargo. The udp will be there in four hours, so capture as many as you can and get the cargo. You must neutralise (destroy or capture) at least two ships. There are six in the system. For the first Waypoint I assigned Chanh Minh US' to the Dreadnought Akio Morita, Daneal Mabuso and Dren Anderson to the Cruisers Cheongju and Gapirri, James Chappie to the Destroyer fws Heng and I took the Dreadnought fws Chang Jiang. I assigned six destroyers to the second waypoint. (fws Dante (Francis Globel), fws Kaga (Ignacio Moreno), fws Paiute (Anna Quintana), fws Pan-P'o (Akiri Mustapha) and fws Pleiades captained by Jacques Quinze.) It was a fair concentration of firepower and we managed to destroy the outpost Uart and capture the outpost Hammon Dar as well as accomplishing all mission objectives.
- Encounter at Godel
With a time limit of three hours, you must neutralise two enemy ships and get all ships to waypoint X04. The original object, of capturing outpost T03, has been abandoned, but try it anyway. You should find time. If you do capture the outpost, you will get the Probe of Hope. I managed to do it (and destroy all four enemy ships) using four destroyers (fws Kaga (Daneal Mabuso), fws Paiute (Francis Globel), fws Jouett (James Chappie) and fws Okinawa piloted by Dren Anderson), one cruiser (fws Jose Rizal piloted by Chahn Minh) and a Dreadnought, fws Lion Star captained by myself.
- Alien probe at Hope
This is a simple 'Kill All Aliens' mission. There are four enemy ships. The three waypoints hold 950, 780 and 940 resource points. I used three destroyers with Dren Anderson, Daneal Mabuso and Anna Quantina and two Heavy Cruisers with James Chappie and myself.
- Hit pyxis
You have to capture an outpost and 300 units of cargo. 'Cargo!' you might think; 'I'd better use a Transporter'. But remember that Dreadnoughts can carry 210 units. I managed to get far more cargo than asked for and got myself a promotion.
- Convoy attack
Attack an alien convoy near Toascella. Use lots of Heavy Cruisers and Cruisers. There are four enemy ships to neutralise - you should have two fws for each. Tell everyone to capture rather than destroy the ships - you need the cargo. Watch out for the Enbranson Field which will scramble your sensors.
- Ambush alien command
More mayhem in the Hope system. I took the Heavy Cruiser Braye, Dren Anderson took the Cruiser Gapirri, the destroyers Guarantor and K'uei completed the flight.
- The final battle
The enemy throw all they have into one last battle. You have to capture two ships, but the rest can be destroyed. I used the Cruisers Frederick and Gapirri (Daneal Mabuso & Akiri Mustapha), the Heavy Cruisers Braye and Edwards (mb & Dren Anderson), the Destroyer Dante (James Chappie) and the Dreadnought K'uei (Francis Globel).
After you have defeated the Xenos Agnos in Doomsday Operation it is on to the next campaign, Ill Wind. The fw and udp are back together, united against the common foe. Now you can use those captains with udp sympathies. Ill Wind probes the new enemy, the Trizan Alphas.
When you have finished a campaign, a password allows you to edit just about every aspect of it. That is only the beginning. Rules of Engagement 2 allows you to create your own missions and link them into tee-linked campaigns with win/lose conditions. You can alter 18 different personality traits to create your own captains or aliens. Then go on to building ships and, if you want, even entire solar systems. The possibilities are endless.
I never thought I'd really like a strategy game pure and simple. I've got a short attention span and unless a game grabs my attention in the first 20 minutes or so, it's lost. But I think Rules of Engagement 2 will convert any shoot 'em-up fan into a strategy game player. I liked it so much I nearly bought some 12-sided dice.
Download Rules Of Engagement 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP